Wednesday, October 25, 2017

How to Make Miniature Book Girl Scout SWAPS

I've been ALL about the Girl Scout SWAPS for a few weeks now. You'd think that since they're crafty I'd have been all over them from the beginning of our Scouting experience, but I dunno... SWAPS aren't a huge deal in our council like they are in some, and a lot of them are... kind of cutesy? I'm really not a crafter of cutesy things. Ducks in bonnets aren't really my jam.

But then I joined this Facebook group of Girl Scout troop leaders and volunteers across the country, and they're super into it and not all of them are into the cutesy nonsense, either, and THEN I made plans for the kids and I to go to the Girl Scout National Convention, where not only do adults also exchange SWAPS but you've also got to bring your A game because there are also people from across the country there...

...and yeah. SWAPS are a thing now.

ANYWAY... I'm taking my Girl Scout troop to an event soon where there will be SWAPS to exchange, so I've been doing a lot of prepwork and encouragement lately (the one bad thing about SWAPS is that you have to make a LOT of them, because what? You want to go somewhere and exchange just one SWAP with just one person? No! You want to exchange just one SWAP with every person! At the event we're going to, that's 40-50 SWAPS!), and setting up a lot of invitations to make a lot of different SWAPS, because my kids, at least, don't really have the interest to make 50 of the exact same thing; they'd rather make five of something, get bored, make 10 of something else, find it tedious, then come gripe to me, etc.

Here, then, is a pretty quick-and-easy tute that I made to make miniature books. Stick a safety pin in them and they're SWAPS. Don't stick a safety pin in them and the kids can use them in their doll house or with their Barbies.

You will need:

  • thumbnail-sized book cover images. Google your kid's favorite book and you'll find plenty of small images of that book's cover. Save it to your computer, paste it into your favorite word processor or graphic design program, and do it again until you've got a page full of book cover thumbnails.
  • colored copy paper. You'll be using this for the rest of the book's cover, so you can match the color to the book cover image or not. I let the kids pull whatever paper they wanted from our paper stash.
  • old book pages. You want writing on the inside of your book, but it doesn't have to match what the book's about--here is where you use resources wisely! I pulled an old, torn paperback out of my books-as-crafts stash, and we used that. It just happened to be an Old Sweet Valley High book, and so now I have to request some of those from the library, as the children were FASCINATED. I guess I hadn't noticed that Sweet Valley High isn't a thing anymore!
  • scissors, glue stick, stapler, pen, safety pin

1. Cut out the thumbnail book cover. Use that as a template to cut out one piece of colored copy paper twice the width of that book cover, then use THAT as a template to cut out two pieces from the old book page:

When you're done, you'll have the following pieces of your book:
See how all the other pages are twice as wide as the book cover?

2. Glue the book cover to the right side of the colored paper:

3. Stack the two book pages behind it and fold in half:

4. Staple exactly on the fold. To make a SWAP, put a safety pin through the fold near the top:

And they look amazing!!!

You need to include a little information with your SWAP to identify your location and to make it clear, if it isn't already, how the SWAP is Girl Scout-related. We include our troop number and city/state, and the kids wrote Book Artist on these, because they're a call-out to the Book Artist badge that they're currently working on. Inside the front cover or on the back would be good places to include this information.

Syd liked these so much that she managed to make 30 before she got bored and wanted to try a different SWAP idea. Will only made five or six, but she's not really into crafts. 

Rather, she's not into paper crafts, because I firmly believe that there's a hands-on creation for everyone. With that in mind, I bought a bunch of dog tag blanks and played around with metal stamping them, and later today I'm going to see if a kid who isn't into paper and glue so much might be into metal and hammers...

I think maybe yes!